Autumnal Advice: Feeling Fall-ish?

I love Autumn. It is my favorite season and usually quite the coziest of them all. There are a few things that I love to do most ESPECIALLY in the Fall!  As this glorious season ramps up, consider doing some or all of the following:

Listen to the beautifully melancholy music of Erik Satie:

Watch leaves swirling in the blustery winds, breath deeply that crisp fall air, and let these melodies seep into your soul.

Watch the movie Arsenic and Old Lace:

You haven’t lived until you’ve watched Cary Grant slowly lose his mind when faced by his little old aunties’ murderous activities. To that, add in a serial killing Boris Karloff look-alike, his drunken henchman, a gent who thinks he is actually Teddy Roosevelt, a bumbling police officer, and a little bit of old-fashioned romance. It’s phenomenal.

Eat Squash! In soups, if possible!

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Go to Trader Joe’s and get down with some SERIOUS pumpkin-y goodness!

I stopped in at my local Trader Joe’s yesterday to pick up my usual frozen grilled peppers, edamame nuggets, and ice coffee concentrate. And, LO AND BEHOLD, what should my wond’ring eyes reveal? THE PUMPKINS HAVE ARRIVED! I left with pumpkin scones, pumpkin cornbread mix, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin mochi, aaaaaand just a classic plain old pumpkin. Tonight, after a long Monday’s work, I rolled out this year’s Pumpkin Ravioli, and it did not disappoint!

pumpkin goodness

Go buy some. Now, if possible.

What are your favorite fall treats? Any must-do items that I should add to my list? 

Caillou: A Study in What is Wrong With Society

 

Caillou-xl-pictures-33

 

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Yup. You heard me correctly. I’m talking about Caillou; that supposedly-innocuous children’s television show from Canada. I almost hesitate to write a blogpost about this, because someone has already done this subject justice. Over at howtobeadad.com there is a post called “Caillou” is French for SHUT UP which perfectly demonstrates my feelings about Caillou. However, I want there to be zero question of my strong support in the anti-Caillou movement, so I will share with you a few thoughts. 

Thought: Look at the screencap/thumbnails used to show various episodes online. . . JUST LOOK at this child’s face in each one. I would probably avoid real live children who exhibited this emotional range, so why on EARTH would I allow a child to watch and emulate The Abomination?

caillou is a brat

 

Thought: High School Students that I teach also have strong & unified Anti-Caillou feelings. After finishing their work, my students will sometimes print out a coloring page so that they can just relax and de-stress for a little bit . . . these are some of the Caillou-themed pages they gave me one year:Feed the Cat, Caillou, not the floor. GEEZ.

He would.

Charming Family. This is what they should look like.

Poor Rosie.

Conquest Caillou: Proponent of imperialism or just power-crazed toddler?

She's green because he makes her physically ill.

Gilbert has a hard lot in life.

I know my students are (in my humble opinion) often above-average, but if my high school students can see the problems intrinsic to this show, WHY CAN’T PARENTS???

Thought: All kids I have ever encountered have the tendency to copy behaviors that they see. Should ANYONE be copying this behavior? 

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Thought: It is telling that people from all different lifestyles and backgrounds are able to get solidly behind the anti-Caillou movement. Case in point: I recently returned from being out for a day to find this note from my substitute teacher . . .

it's not just me

 

These are my thoughts on Caillou.

So, the next time you wind up talking about me and somebody asks:hate caillou

 . . . you will be able to answer just like my above student!

Golden Nuggets From The Internet

There have been a few beautiful moments in my lifetime that my normal forays into the online world have yielded treasures greater than I could have ever imagined. I have thus compiled my very first master-post of things I found on the internet that I didn’t even know I wanted, but are absolute perfection.

British Men Reading Literature

Beautiful Men Reading Beautiful Words with their Beautiful Voices

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Thanks to a benevolent soul on 8tracks, there is a gorgeous playlist of beautifully-accented English readings. . . swoon away.

The Best Musical Mash-up I have ever heard:

I first heard this song through a tumblr post, and I have been obsessed ever since!

The ability to listen to rain ALL THE TIME:

rainy moodI love rain. I love the sound of rain on rooftops and the serene quality of a rainy day. Warm summer rain and the low rumble of thunder? It just doesn’t get better than that. It is, without a doubt, my favorite weather. So, when it’s been a good long time since the last thunder heralded the arrival of a well-rounded storm, I go to this website that lets you listen to rainy music any time!

The Best Foreign Language Resource of All:

Foreign Languages

wordreference.com is a magical resource. This is not an exaggeration. It provides nuanced translations (defined from a multitude of  different dictionaries), synonyms, information on how a word is used in context, variations of words in phrases, examples, linguistic expressions, forums where you can ask questions/clarify word-use, and ALL verb conjugations!!! It has everything.

wordreference

Mindless JELLO TIME:

Sometimes you just want to do something dumb. Mindless. If this is you, I would like to introduce you the red jello mold.

Jello TIME

When you go to jellotime.com, you will see just how mindless and ridiculous this is. Mouse-over the jello and watch it wiggle. . . with sound effects. It either gets old immediately or is mesmerizing.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Son of Citation

Citationmachine.net is a GIFT to students the world over. If you don’t use it already, then allow me to welcome you to the 100% painless ability to correctly site every single one of your sources in ALL of the formats!!! It actually got updated recently, so if you’re having trouble navigating the new formatted website, you can always click here to go to the old version, which does both MLA and APA!

 Do you like old radio shows?

old-radio

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Have you ever even heard one? Think: pod-casts/mp3 books from back in the day of entertainment before there was a TV in every home, before the internet, or the existence of newsfeeds; when people were known to gather around the family radio to listen to dramatized adventure stories. Listening to them now can be both entertaining and riveting. . . not to mention a wonderful background to activities that require your visual attention. I love being able to do work while I listen to a story without feeling like I’m missing whatever is going on by not watching a screen. Anyhow, I recently stumbled upon a website that has dozens upon dozens of free radio shows to listen to! Check it out by clicking on or copying the URL: http://www.oldradioworld.com/

Okay, I need to stop somewhere, so I suppose this is as good a place as any.Looking back, I am noticing that I sound weirdly like an infomercial or like I’m some sort of weird paid promotional person. Please believe (and I’m sure it’s not much of a stretch) that NOBODY paid me for any of this rambling post. Enjoy my internet finds, and if you have any of your own to share, please let me know!!!

That Awkward Phone Moment…

The phone rings and your caller i.d. flashes the name of a dear one you’ve been particularly bad at keeping in touch with over the past year or so. You stare at the screen and in the course of a few seconds, you must decide whether to answer or not.

phone debate.png

One one hand, OF COURSE you want to talk to that person! It’s not like you guys have been out-of-touch on purpose. . . life has just been busy and your two schedules have made you ships in the night. It would be so wonderful to hear their voice again!

On the other hand, it’s been so long since you’ve last spoken voice-to-voice that you’re pretty far behind. Who knows whats been happening in each-others’ lives and how much time (not to mention emotional energy) you may have to dedicate to getting up to speed?

This is also the dilemma of the mind behind this blog. Amid the beautiful chaos of life, there’s been barely a minute or two consecutively to sit with my computer over the past month-and-a-half, and now I find myself with a newsworthy snow day and too much to say.

Life has been full to bursting these past weeks, and true to my scattered form, I shall now undertake the telling of the highlights via list, in no particular order.

1. Yesterday my two nephews were officially adopted!!!

ben and caleb

Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have them formally in my family (where they have been informally for years!).

2. Home Base is Movinghome

After 25 years, my parents have sold the home where I grew up and are moving to Michigan. I can’t lie and say that I am not sad, because I loved growing up on Iradell Road, and it will always hold a place in my heart. BUT, I can say that I am very excited to see where this major shift takes my parents and I know that God will bless the next 25 years as fully has he has the last.

3. I love my church!

4. Teaching remains delightful!

teaching supplies?

I took this picture of my desk, because it was one of those moments where I couldn’t quite believe the randomness of the things appearing on my desk!

5. Planning School Events is, as always, Underway

favor

Winter Ball is almost upon us (if the storm doesn’t require a postponement!) and there will be more to come on the Fairy-Tale Forest theme soon . . .

favors

Suffice it to say, I am staying busy with the details this year!

6. I got another Tattoo

tattwo. . . which prompted one of my students to write this letter to my father, haha!

letters to dad Did I mention that I love my students?

 

7. I’m still obsessed with my cat Winky

winkyface

. . . but can you blame me?

8. I have a new fnephew! (foster-nephew)

fnephew

So you see, a lot has happened . . .

I have a lot to be thankful for!

theboys

What’s new with you in 2015?

 

Loquaciousness, Verbosity, and Siblings

Recently, somewhat out of the blue but much to my delight, my brother decided to throw down a challenge in my direction. . .

words we should use more

 

This was immediately followed up with a full-family-facebook conversation, complete with loving taunts.

family chatter

So, when faced with all of this chatter, I decided to attempt to meet my brother’s challenge.

Did I do it? Yes. Yes I did.

potlucky
My coworkers think I’m crazy, but I did it.

 

The Mascot Gavotte: And the Award Goes To . . .

mascots

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Recently, I was drinking my morning coffee and perusing my tumblr dash – you know: starting the day in a true summer-vacation fashion, and I came across a short blogpost (x) somebody had made about mascots .

blogpost about mascots

As you can see, the writer was basically saying that Mascots are a mockery of furries.

Tangent: What’s a furry, you ask? Well, Urban Dictionary gives a surprisingly-nuanced definition (which you can read by clicking here, if you’d like) that . . . also happens to be pretty long. So, if you’re feeling lazy, lets just define furries as a group of people who anthropomorphize animals to a bajillion different degrees – some of them assuming animal personas to the extent that they identify themselves as an actual animal.

So, now that we’ve got definitions taken care of . . . 

I read some of the comments on the original post, and it ultimately piqued my curiosity about the origin of Mascots. With a whir of my touch-typing fingertips (thank you Mrs. Green, wherever-you-are, it’s the best skill 9th grade gave to me), I started to peruse the massive compendium of knowledge concerning Mascots brought to you by the infallible Saint Wikipedia. (You might not be able to cite it in papers, but it’s a good way to start researching!)

Mascots of Awesome

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Things I learned:

  • the word “mascot” essentially just means “good luck charm”, and owes its English-Language popularization to a French operetta from 1880 that recounted the story of a girl who brought people good luck as long as she remained a virgin
  • a surprising number of mascots are mules – I mean, yes, they’re stubborn and hardworking, but who wants to be an ass?
  • there are a lot of non-animal mascots (not all that surprising until you realize that many are non-human also)
  • while general sports mascots seem to be the largest denomination of mascots, there are also mascots for corporations, bands, and schools
  • Princeton University is the first school in recorded history to have a mascot
  • Victor is a shockingly common name for mascots Victor the Mascot

There is a whole list of mascots (probably incomplete, but still) on Wikipedia for your personal perusing pleasure, and (true to human nature) everybody thinks they have the absolute best. There are polls all over the place about which might be the greatest mascot. Personally, I don’t like #1/ “Best” titles, because they oversimplify. THUS, I have decided to provide you with my very own Mascot Awards Ceremony. I’m sure you’re on pins and needles, so I’ll get right into it.

The Friendliest Nut/Most Indomitable Mascot: Brutus Buckeye of The Ohio State University

Brutus Buckeye

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To take this lighthearted nut at simple face value would be a mistake. Despite his visible cheer, Brutus has had quite a trying history, for an anthropomorphized nut, that is. He’s been kidnapped at least five times since 1965, from what I can gather, and I would daresay he’s come through more hard times than one Buckeye nut ever deserved. Yet, here he is, in 2014, still smiling. Brutus might be a nut, but he is a survivor, and that’s more than many mascots can boast.

The Wildest [Former] Unofficial Mascot to Ever Wield a Pineapple: Vili the Warrior of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Vili the Warrior

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Now retired, apparently, this die-hard, pineapple-toting warrior was quite fearsome, from what I can tell.

The Best Online Profiled Mascot: The Stormy Petrel of Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, Georgia)

Petey the Petrel

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Petey the Petrel's Profile

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Suffice it to say: In addition to his large, plague-mask-reminiscent beak, Petey the Petrel has a very well developed identity, folks.

The Scariest Vegetable Mascot: The Cobbers of Concordia College (In Moorhead, Minnesota)

Concordia College Cobbers

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Seriously. Look at that face.

I never knew corn could be that intimidating, and I grew up surrounded by fields of the stuff. All I have to say is: These fans are missing a golden opportunity if they don’t make extensive wordplay involving the word “clobber”.

Also, as a side note, this leads to some interesting fan-base attire.

corn heads?

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I wonder if any of their opponents have come up with some kind of corn-popper analogy yet.

The Smartest/ “Most Esoteric” Mascot: The Eutectic of the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy.

Morty the Eutectic

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What on God’s green earth is a Eutectic, you ask? It’s the scientific process where two solids combine to form a liquid. (Yes, of course I looked it up. What non-chemist would know that kind of thing???) The best part about this nerdy team symbol is how seriously it is stil taken as a mascot, though.

Eutectics Fans

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The Least Intimidating Mascot: The Banana Slugs of the University of California-Santa Cruz

banana slug mascot

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Surprisingly famous, even making number 1 on ESPN’s 2008 top ten mascot names in College Basketball, this mascot doesn’t exactly strike fear into my heart at first glance. One snarky judge from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals of CA, even referenced them in an opinion discourse.

Supreme Court Banana Slug Nod

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The Most Obscene, Yet Also Possibly The Most Unique Mascot: Scrotie the “friendly phallus” of The Rhode Island School of Design

censored box

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This is exactly what you think it is. If you are at all interested in an AMAZING article about Scrotie, please click this link, because the author’s  lovely clear explanation of their mascot is matched in excellence only by the amount of penis-themed, chortle-inducing wordplay they use.   In an article he wrote for the Providence Phoenix, David Scharfenberg calls the RISD sports crew

“a co-ed assemblage that has been turning the dick joke into high art — OK, low art — for 50 years now.”

It’s also worth noting that the ice hockey team of the RISD are called the “Nads” . . . Fans apparently cheer them on with loud cries of “Go Nads!”. No joke. And don’t get me started on the RISD Pricks (a fencing club) and the RISD Seamen (a sailing club).

 The Cutest Mascot: Artie the Fighting Artichoke of Scottsdale Community College

fighting artichokes

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Now, while they have attempted to render this many-layered vegetable-substitute-for-chips more intimidating with design, the plain truth of it is: Artie is adorable.

arti

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Honorable Mentions Due to their Pun-tastic Names:

Webst-UR the University of Richmond’s Spider

webstur

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Whoo RU the Owl Mascot of Rowan University Athletics

owl

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